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21 Mar 2015

Adoption Apology a milestone for our social progress


The National Apology for Forced Adoptions is a significant milestone in Australia’s social progress as a nation and The Benevolent Society believes it is important to remember this day.

On Thursday, 21 March 2013, then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard delivered a formal statement of apology to Australian people affected by past forced adoption practices.

“The National Apology for Forced Adoptions was extremely moving and particularly welcomed by many Australians whose lives are deeply affected by harmful past adoption practices,” said Leith Sterling, Benevolent Society Regional Manager.

“The apology acknowledges the grief and trauma many Australians experienced, due to the ‘brutality of practices that were unethical, dishonest and in many cases illegal’.

  • 5 Mar 2015

    We need a better plan to support us all to keep working longer

    The Intergenerational Report is disappointing in its lack of detail on how ageing Australians are supposed to keep working longer, says The Benevolent Society. CEO Jo Toohey says it’s encouraging that there is acknowledgement of the need to address discrimination against older workers but an actual strategy to support older workers and to keep working Australians healthy and active as we age is needed.

    “It’s great to see the Treasurer acknowledge the benefits of all of us living longer and healthier lives, but more details on the action we need to take now to ensure a ‘positive and prosperous future’ is needed,” said CEO Jo Toohey.

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  • 26 Feb 2015

    More details need to assess impact of McClure Review

    The Benevolent Society cautiously welcomes aspects of the McClure Review of the Australian Welfare System released today, but says more details are needed to assess how some of the more vulnerable welfare recipients will be impacted. It is important to understand the serious challenges many long-term unemployed and vulnerable people face and to provide the significant supports they require to transition into paid work.


    “Our main concern is how the McClure recommendations will be implemented, and particularly the impact on thousands of Australians currently on the disability pension. There is an underlying assumption that suitable jobs are readily available which may not in fact be the case," said CEO Joanne Toohey.

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  • 20 Feb 2015

    Childcare review welcome but more funding needed

    The Benevolent Society welcomes the release of the Productivity Commission’s Final Report into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning and the emphasis it places on the importance of high quality early childhood education and care in promoting children’s development and encouraging workforce participation. However, the recommendations fall short of being able to deliver affordable, accessible and high quality childcare for all Australian children, particularly those who are on low incomes or are vulnerable.

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  • 14 Feb 2015

    New Queensland government must put children and families first

    The Benevolent Society asks the new ALP-led Government to honour its four key commitments to:

    - develop a network of early intervention and prevention services that are available to all Queensland families to reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect;
    - continue the child safety reform agenda initiated in response to the Carmody Inquiry;
    - provide a high quality early childhood curriculum that includes access to the play-based model of education in the early years of schooling, and
    - fully implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

    But we would also urge the government seize the opportunity to build on its current successes and:

    - expand the highly successful Early Years Centres initiative, which is providing support for children and families in more disadvantaged areas of Queensland;
    - increase investment in prevention and early intervention initiatives, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families;
    - expand parenting support and education to help families provide the right environment for their young children to thrive and learn, and
    - provide all children with access to quality early childhood education in the two years before school and at low or no cost for children from low income or disadvantaged families.

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  • 9 Feb 2015

    PM urged to remember the children in childcare debate

    The Benevolent Society calls on the Federal Government to table the final report of the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Childcare & Early Childhood Learning as a matter of urgency as Parliament resumes this week.

    Executive Director Matt Gardiner said: “In formulating its response we urge the Government to remember that the primary impact of quality early childhood education is improvement in the education, well being and life chances of our children – and that this has a measurable and dramatic economic impact, beyond the benefits of increased workforce participation by their mothers.”

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  • 7 Nov 2014

    Learning from past wrongs

    The Benevolent Society is urging people to remember the lessons of past adoption practices, and the importance of ensuring families are always formed with the best interests of the child in mind, this National Adoption Awareness Week.

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  • 23 Oct 2014

    Help for parents as quarter million kids get ready to start school

    Around 250,000 four and five-year-olds starting school next year will have their readiness to start school measured by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), but The Benevolent Society believes more must be been done to address the vulnerabilities identified in the previous round.

    The most important skills children need to learn to do well at school are to be able manage their own emotions and to have the social skills to form good relationships with teachers and other students.

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  • 13 Oct 2014

    National plan and early action needed to end poverty

    The Benevolent Society supports the call by the Australian Council of Social Services for a comprehensive national plan to tackle poverty, as their latest report reveals that 1 in 6 Australian children live in poverty.

    Benevolent Society CEO Jo Toohey said, “We can’t afford the damaging, long-term consequences of allowing more than 600,000 children to grow up in poverty. The question for all our political leaders is - will we continue to stand by and watch more and more Australians struggle with poverty or will we take action to turn these shocking statistics around?”

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  • 15 Sep 2014

    Clubs childcare push not in best interest of children

    Supporting tax exemptions for clubs to provide childcare would not be in the best interests of children or child development says The Benevolent Society.
    "Children themselves say they don’t like being left in kids rooms in clubs and pubs, so there’s a big question mark over what the experience would be for very young children so we urge caution about any proposal which links the gambling industry with early childhood education," said Anne Hollonds, Benevolent Society spokesperson.

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